|Aikane Plantation, on the old cane haul road between Pahala and Na`alehu, made the LA Times today in a story|
about sampling Hawai`i's new coffee region.
FUNDING FOR THE `AINA KOA PONO refinery and plantation around Pahala would be easier if Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs a bill that passed the state Legislature in its final days. `Aina Koa Pono and Hawaiian Electric Light Co. asked the Legislature to change the law after the Public Utilities Commission turned down their request to raise customer rates on O`ahu, Lana`i, Moloka`i and the Big Island to help pay for the $320 million refinery that would be located just off Wood Valley Road above Pāhala. The PUC ruled that customers on other islands could not be charged to pay for the cost of energy they would not receive. `Aina Koa Pono and the electric company testified that such cost sharing is needed to fund alternative energies such as their project. Their project aims to put biomass into large microwaves to make a vapor, which would be condensed with additives to make fuel. The synthetic fuel would be hauled in tanker trucks from Pahala to the Hawaiian Electric Light Company plant near Kona Airport. The refinery would also produce transportation fuel, which would be trucked out of Pahala. The investors in the refinery promise hundreds of jobs, with 300 union construction workers building the plant followed by several hundred permanent jobs. `Aina Koa Pono claims it can use trees and shrubs, all of them invasive species, for the feedstock for the first few years until it comes up with an appropriate crop to grow to make the biofuel.
|Rep. Bob Herkes|
The owners of other alternative energy concerns already in place, such as the wind farms at South Point, attempted to intervene in the PUC decision to subsidize the `Aina Koa Pono project with rate hikes, saying that the other alternative energies, like wind, will have a smaller chance of being used by the electric company if such a refinery is approved and subsidized through raising electric rates.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES TODAY FEATURED a photo of Aikane Coffee Plantation between Pahala and Na`alehu on the old sugar cane haul road. The story, entitled Coffee Sampling in Hawai`i’s New Growing Region, says that from Kona a “spectacularly beautiful 90-minute drive leads to Pahala and Aikane Plantation Coffee Co., where Phil Becker and his wife, Merle, welcome guests.”
The story promotes both the Aikane Coffee farm and the Ka`u Coffee Festival coming up next week. “The Beckers’ farm is in the Ka`u district, which is gaining an international reputation for its excellent coffee, celebrated each year at the Ka`u Coffee Festival,” writes Ray Jones. “This year’s festival begins Saturday. At it, guests can sample local brews, plus food items with coffee among the ingredients. The event at the Pahala Community Center also features Hawaiian music and hula dances.”
The story also quotes Phil Becker: “If someone calls and would like to see our plantation, we welcome them to come and share the coffee experience. We don’t advertise, so it’s a special tour for each guest. And it’s free.”
|Eddie Wroblewski explains the drying process for Ka`u Coffee|
at the Ka`u Coffee Mill to the OC-16 Brown Bags TV crew.
KA`U COFFEE FARMERS are also getting attention from Johnny Kai, who produces a show for the OC-16 television station on O`ahu. Kai filmed Bull Kailiawa and his coffee farm yesterday, following the Kailiawa’s winning of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s international award as top in the USA and top ten in the world. He also filmed Eddie Wroblewski running the Ka`u Coffee mill pulping operation. The footage will be on the Brown Bags to Stardom show with host Ka`ailani McBrayer. Johnny Kai is filming Miss Ka`u Coffee today at other farms in Moa`ula.
|Johnny Kai films Brown Bags winners One Journey at|
Ka`u High School on Friday. Photos by Julia Neal
ONE JOURNEY was filmed by the Brown Bags production crew at Ka`u High School yesterday. One Journey, which won the Brown Bags event in Honolulu on April 23, is waiting to see the final results of the Brown Bags music video competition for which One Journey has reached the top six in the finals. The results will be released sometime in June. One Journey will be a headliner at the Ka`u Coffee Festival ho`olaule`a next Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Admission is free.
THE PRICE OF GASOLINE IS expected to start falling as oil companies report record profits and oil drilling in the gulf resumes along with predictions of increased stability in the Middle East. The gas prices started climbing rapidly in mid-March. Today, the price of regular was $4.59 a gallon at Kahuku Market in Ocean View. Ocean View market would not give prices. Kahala Gas was $4.64 a gallon. It was $4.66 at the 76 station in Na`alehu and at Ka`u Gas in Pahala.
VOLCANO ART CENTER IS HOSTING a fundraiser tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village to help support the people of Japan who were stricken by the earthquake and tsunami in March. The fundraiser features a movie made possible by Joe Okuda about the famous Shinto shrine and its man-made forest in the Center of Tokyo. Volcano resident and dancer Shizuno Nasu will perform, along with Shiho Watanabe on Koto.
Tickets are $15, and all proceeds go to the people of Japan. Call 967-8222 for tickets. Donations are also accepted.
THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES for the Ka`u Coffee Recipe Contest is today. Applications are available at R&G Store in Pahala and online at kaucoffeefest.com. Contact Michelle Galimba at 430-4927 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.